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Triad: Game of Thrones

The Game of Thrones television series is meant to quicken the pace to which the viewer follows the Game of Thrones storyline from the book, hence, the chessboard illustrates the momentum of television show which is much like a chess game that has a cause and effect relationship, often times exchanging one piece for another.  The first slide although only a title slide is meant to impress the point of having a grounded rational attack.  The chessboard is meant to represent the plane at which the players namely royalty and members of the Nightwatch interact sometimes ultimately resulting in their death or murder.  The outcome for some of the pieces on the board is indicative of their position on the board.  The first slide I take a closer look at one of members of the night watch Ser Waymar Royce.  Deciding on Ser Waymar Royce as being a pawn on the chessboard came for a couple reasons.  For one the Nightwatch is meant to protect the seven kingdoms and often the affairs of the Nightwatch are kept behind the scenes. The duty of being on the Nightwatch also runs the risk of death by harsh weather conditions and other ends.  That being said the Nightwatch is not meant for the light of heart and typically entails a lifetime of duty to the empire with little opportunity to return home and see family.  The scene in the first slide attempts to capture Royce’s last moment before being killed by a whitewalker.  There is the excerpt from the book included at the top left corner of the slide.   The excerpt gives a more detailed version of Royce’s fight to the death which is overlooked in the television series.  The scene ends in the television series with Royce glancing up with a sense of urgency and uncertainty before being killed.  However the episode doesn’t reveal to us any engagement between Royce and the whitewalker rather we are left to believe that he dies immediately.

From reading the excerpt from the text we learn that Royce died with much more honor then the episode gives him in the show.  The duty of the Nightwatch is to serve and protect the seven kingdoms even if it means putting your life on the line.  Initially Royce and the other two men on the Nightwatch with him are looking for deserters of the Nightwatch which demonstrate how important retaining a sense of honor is to them.  Unfortunately, the episode fails to see Royce through his term as being a leading officer in the Nightwatch.  We are only left hearing the sound of the whitewalker’s sword being drawn and can assume Royce meets his death shortly after.  The Nightwatch whose headquarters are a huge wall called the “Wall” serve as the front line for the seven kingdoms.  In a similar fashion the Nightwatch would be fittingly positioned on the front line of the board where all the pawns are.  Since the seven kingdoms can afford to lose men on the Nightwatch pons are representative of this because pawns typically disappear early on in a chess game and are susceptible to attack or be attacked first.

Losing a member of the Nightwatch is to be expected therefore the seven kingdoms especially royalty in the seven kingdoms doesn’t have time to mourn the loss of every individual dead Nightwatch man.  The purpose of the Nightwatch, the pons, are to serve the rest of the kingdoms and in this case to serve the board in furthering the progress of their side.  Although the conflict in the book and movie begin as being Nightwatch versus Whitewalkers the conflict becomes internalized.  The conflict becomes internalized when the royal families in the seven kingdoms begin to influence one another.  In the next slide three of Eddard Stark’s kids watch him as he beheads a deserter of the Nightwatch.  The Starks are just one of the royal families in the seven kingdoms.  The presence of Eddard’s Stark’s kids on the chessboard is not apparent but it can be assumed that royalty wouldn’t be pawns like members of the Nightwatch fighting out on the front lines.

Rather Stark’s kids are protected by their association to their father who although not king has influence over the king putting Eddard Stark as either a bishop, knight, or rook on either side of the king and queen.  Bran Eddard Stark’s youngest son is asked by his father to be present at the execution of a deserter of the Nightwatch the same man that was with Ser Waymar Royce when he died.  Bran and his brother Jon are there together watching their father carry out the watchman’s sentence.  Bran’s older brother Robb stands ahead of his two brothers desensitized to the whole ordeal.  The purpose of Bran’s presence at the sentencing was his father’s attempt to make Bran into a man.  In the episode we see a young boy who is still conflicted about his father’s reasoning for sentencing this man to death a certain innocence that his older brothers Robb and Jon have left behind.  The television series does well of drawing its attention in this scene to the unfitting presence of Bran who is just a boy and we really sympathize with his character because death is something hard to explain to children.

The excerpts from the book give us more insight into Bran’s thoughts which reveal he still hasn’t given up on his own reservations which are considered child like in exchange for his father’s words.  In a similar fashion the Targaryens internalize the conflict of the seven kingdoms.  The last remaining bloodline of the Targaryen’s are brother and sister.  The brother, Viserys, is older and more commandeering over his younger sister.  His father was the former king of the seven kingdoms making him the rightful heir to the throne.  However, this proposition doesn’t sit well with the rest of the seven kingdoms that already have a new king. Viserys, on the chessboard, would be positioned close to the king and queen as a knight or bishop.  His younger sister is a pon who he manipulates in order to further himself on his quest to be king of the seven kingdoms.  The book offers a much less tame interpretation with Viserys being especially cold to his younger sister when she tells him that she’d rather go home than be queen.  The book’s interpretation also offers a depiction of Daenerys as being much more submissive.  In the excerpt on the fifth slide Viserys seems to have complete and utter control over his sister’s emotions let alone facial expressions.  He asks her to stand up tall, show what little breasts she has, and smile to which she complies to all of these suggestions. In the television series, Daenerys appears to resist her brother’s manipulative tactics more so than she appears to in the text.

In conclusion, the momentum of show often picks up where the book leaves off however the book is more thorough in its descriptions of the characters and as we’ve already seen tends to make them appear more fickle than in the show. Other times the show appears to fall short of doing justice to the characters in the book and their unique circumstances which tend to be overlooked as we’ve already seen with the case of Ser Waymar Royce. The show does however for the most part keep the ideology of the book intact.

 

 

 

 

 

Works Cited:

“I don’t want to be his queen” YouTube. 2012. 29 Jun. 2011 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWqBZQg-RvY&feature=related

“Night’s Watchmans and the White Walkers” Youtube. 2012. 7 Jul. 2011 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhonEowCBUw

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1) Amazon. 2012. 22 Mar. 2011 http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0553386794/ref=sr_1_1?p=S005&keywords=game+of+thrones+book+1&ie=UTF8&qid=1336022277

“Winter is Coming” Youtube. 2012. 19 Apr. 2011  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUm6HnNOtIo&feature=fvst

throne.jpg 2012. 20 Dec. 2008 http://photo-dictionary.com/phrase/472/throne.html#b%20-%20throne

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Sam and Max: The Psychotic Bunny Leaves the Pages and Invades Our Games

The Sam and Max franchise has come in many forms over the years. It has been printed as a comic, featured as an animated television series, and transformed into a point and click adventure game.  The series follows the adventures Sam, a six foot tall canine detective who wears a blue suit and matching fedora, and Max, a violent, semi-psychotic rabbit-like thing as they solve mysteries and wreak havoc as freelance police. Unlike many other franchises, Sam and Max has been able to successfully adapt itself to new mediums, taking advantages of each medium’s unique strengths to provide something fun and unique.

The laid back canine detective and his psychotic rabbit partner were first introduced in the Sam and Max comic book series, which was written by Steve Purcell and debuted in 1987. Most of the series had a light hearted and fun fell as the freelance police become involved in increasingly ridiculous cases, from having a standoff with mobsters in their office, to traveling to the Philippines to stop an evil volcano cult. The freelance police often resorted to violence even when no violence was necessary, with Sam combating his foes with a comically oversized revolver and Max wielding any number of exotic, over power tools of destruction.  The dialogue was silly and over the top, with Sam giving unnecessarily long exclamatory statements, and Max choosing the most violent possible route and lacing it with wit and clever puns. The comic also showed a fair amount of self-parody and self-awareness by pointing out its own inconsistencies, such as when characters comment and things like “If Max doesn’t wear any cloths, then where does he hide his gun?”

The first adaptation of Sam and Max came in 1993 when Lucas Arts released Sam and Max Hit the Road. Sam and Max Hit the Road was a point and click adventure originally released on the Mac OS and DOS. In the game, players controlled Sam and directed him around a pre-rendered cartoon world to solve puzzles and explore the world. The game featured the same over the top story telling as the comic. This time the main attraction of a carnival, a Sasquatch called Bruno frozen in a block of ice, had escaped and kidnapped one of the performers. It was up to our heroes (if you can call them that) to return the rogue beast and rescue the performer. Some of the biggest draws of the game were the exceptionally written dialogue, fun characters, and uniquely applied humor.  The game took advantage of its medium to help tell jokes. Characters would respond to the players’ actions in fun and interesting ways, using the interactivity to help tell the story and keep the player interested and engaged. The game was well received critically, frequently appears in top 100 games lists, and is now considered a classic by many gamers.

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An example of gameplay from Sam and Max Hit the Road

Sam and Max would not appear again in video games until the 2006 release of Sam and Max Save the World.  Like its predecessor, Save the World was also a point and click adventure game in which Sam and Max went on ridiculous adventures, solved mysteries, and wreaked havoc. One of the game’s most interesting aspects was the way in which it was released. Save the World was released in an episodic fashion. Each episode was a self-contained adventure that had little to do with other episodes in the game beyond the occasional reference or subtle joke. This actually worked quite well as it kept the game feeling fresh and prevented from dragging for too long on any given story. However, the writing that made Sam and Max Hit the Road such a huge success was nowhere to be seen. Save the World was considerably less violent than its predecessors and the jokes, while still funny, felt tame in comparison to what had come before them. The overall interaction with the game world was also significantly reduced. It was no longer possible to waste hours of time simply wandering around the various locales sniggering at Sam’s and Max’s comments as you observed and interacted with your surroundings. All in all it was not a bad game, but it failed to take full advantage of what was offered by the video game medium and the point and click genre specifically.

The only other appearance of Sam and Max was their appearance in the animated series The Adventures of Sam and Max: Freelance Police.  The show had thirteen episodes, about twenty minutes each, which were largely unrelated to one another. The series was still very entertaining despite the lack of plot and being toned down to be more kid friendly. Max was not as vulgar and it was considerably less violent than other renditions of Sam and Max. The show relied instead on clever writing and outlandish scenarios to deliver its humor and keep the audience entertained. Compared to other children’s cartoons of the late 1990’s, the animation for Sam and Max was quite good. This allowed for fast paced action sequences and effects that were not possible for video games at the time, along with jokes and humor that played off of said action sequences and effects. Once again Sam and Max had successfully adapted to take advantage of their new medium.

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Some footage from the 1997 Sam and Max Animated series

Overall, Sam and Max proved to be a highly adaptable source with an extremely high entertainment value. This was only reinforced by the consistently good writing and humor which took advantage of each medium strengths and weakness. Sam and Max was by no means ground breaking in any field, but was spectacular in the sense that it well it succeeded in what it set out to do: to be entertaining.

Works Cited

Geraghty, Lincoln. Realities… blending as one!”: Film Texts and Intertexts in the Star Trek/X-Men Crossover Comics. University of Portsmouth. 2007.

Picard, Martin. Video Games and Their Relationship with Other Media. Greenwood Press, Westport Connecticut. 2008.

Smith, Benjamin. Spandex Cinema : Three Approaches to Comic Book Film Adaptation. University of Central Oklahoma. 2009

Scolari, Carlos Alberto. Transmedia Storytelling: Implicit Consumers, Narrative Worlds, and Branding in Contemporary Media Production. University of Vic Catalunya, Spain. 2009.

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Description: An image of the game  Sam and Max Save the World

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Description: The cover of a the comic book: Sam and Max Surfin’ the Highway

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Triad: “Harlem Globetrotters” – > “The Super Harlem Globetrotters” (TV series) – > Harlem Globetrotters Guest Appearance on “Man Vs. Food Nation: Harlem”.

Note: Download file provided in replies.

Few names are as recognizable in exhibition basketball in America as the Harlem Globetrotters.  Founded in 1927, the unique combination of physical comedy and athletic skill on the team made them a spectacle that has endured for nearly a century.  Over the course of this time, legendary basketball players like Wilt Chamberlain have played on the court, while famous figures such as Pope John Paul II have been made “Honorary” Globetrotters, helping to show that the team is meant for everyone.  This image of unity through the team quickly became one of the most recognizable features of the Harlem Globetrotters, as they targeted anyone interested in watching to tbe part of their audience.

In America, the team has had a long history of being a “barnstorming” team, meaning they travel to numerous venues in order to stage exhibition matches against opposing teams.  These shows are always an all-ages affair for the Harlem Globetrotters, as young and old fans from across the country are given the chance to watch the antics of this historic team.  When the team began spanning the globe, this theme of unity continued to stay with them, as they undertook such exciting endeavors as touring across the Soviet Union in the midst of the 1980s, despite the Cold War tensions between the USSR and America.  Each of their shows sold out, and the universal appeal of the Harlem Globetrotters was further proven.

Though the team initially consisted of all black American men, this mentality has since changed, as the team continues to act as a representative of unity.  The first female member of the Globetrotters, former Olympic gold medalist Lynette Woodard, was added to the roster 1985, with the first hispanic member, Orlando Antigua, being recruited ten years later.  Today, men and women of all races play on the Harlem Globetrotters, and the team continues to entertain audiences across the nation.

With the advent of forms of media such as television, the Harlem Globetrotters were able to reach an even larger audience.  One of the ways in which they did this was with a Saturday morning cartoon show, known as “The Super Globetrotters.”  In this series, a group of the Globetrotters most popular players were given superpowers to fight crime and entertain children.  The Globetrotters also ended up having numerous additionally appearances over the course of several years, with one of the most recent ones involving them as guest stars on the Travel Channel series “Man Vs. Food Nation.”  During this episode, three members of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team were challenged to eat an almost impossible amount of spicy barbeque.  During this challenge, many of the members of the Harlem community encouraging them, unifying numerous people who would otherwise be patrons into a veritable cheerleading group.  Still to this day, the Harlem Globetrotters are intensely focused on unifying their fans and creating a family-like following who can all relate over their love of the antics of the team.

“Super Harlem Globetrotters RPG” is an effort to express these beliefs in a different medium than television.  The player controls four prospective members of the Harlem Globetrotters in a fictional setting as they learns what it means to be a member of the team and how they serve as a representation of the community that surrounds the exploits of the team.  The story is light-hearted and interactive, allowing the player to be a part of it.  It’s also done in a manner that is familiar to those who have played videogames in the past, but also is not terribly difficult for those who are not familiar with playing them.

Sources:

Butler, Robbie. The Harlem Globetrotters: Clown Princes of Basketball. Bloomington ,MN: Red Brick Learning, 2002.

Green, Ben. Spinning the Globe: The Rise, Fall, and Return to Greatness of the Harlem Globetrotters. New York: Harper-Collins, 2006.

Wilker, Josh. The Harlem Globetrotters. New York: Chelsea House, 1997.

“Racial Pioneer at the University of Illinois Has Turned Around Basketball’s Most Storied Franchise.” Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. 55 (2007): 51

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The Muliple Mediums of Coheed and Cambria and “The Armory Wars”

http://prezi.com/kbehovzgvueu/coheed-and-cambria-triad/

Coheed and Cambria, a band from New York, that formed in 1995 made an extraordinary move in the word of adaptation. The band’s music is tightly connected to the comic book series created by lead singer Claudio Sanchez. But Coheed and Cambria isn’t the first band to dive into this world of multiple adaptations of their music. From songs to music videos to comic books to stage presence and even to promotional vignette video clips, the world of “The Armory Wars” lives throughout the multiple forms of production. With a rise in the graphic novel and comic book interest, it is interesting to witness how a band has incorporated an idea into comic, music, and video form, engaging in transmedia storytelling. When examined more closely, Coheed and Cambria’s decision effects how someone experiences the world created.

What makes the multiple versions of Coheed and Cambria’s idea stand out against other musicians who have tried to carry their presence over into the world of comics is the decision not to create a comic book where the band members are the characters of the work, moving around through the pages (Nagy). Evie Nagy gives the tow options bands have. The other option “today means a lot more than turning your band into a superhero” (Nagy). Taking it further, Nagy quotes Virgin Comics CEO Sharad Devarajan by explaining that moving to the comic book medium is giving the artist and band “another playing field to create [their] lyrics. Let’s create something totally new–a fictional property defined by [the band], but like [their] music, will exist for generations beyond [them]” (Nagy). This is accomplished by Coheed and Cambria in much of their music. For example, the album Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV Volume 1:From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness. With songs such as “Welcome Home” and “Ten Speed (Of God’s Blood and Burial)” there is direct connections to the comic. When a reader is going from frame to frame in the comic Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness, things jump out and click in the reader’s mind because of the multiple times they occur in the songs. Erica Court, an important character for the sins she committed against the main character The Writer, comes in and out in songs such as “the Suffering” and in moments of the comic where The Writer is remembering her and the pain of her infidelity, which causes him to inflict pain the characters he is writing. The importance of writing is clear throughout each media form of “The Armory Wars.” With a character named The Writer who is in a struggle with the story he is writing and the negative effects on his characters as his own issues affect his writing, it is difficult not to see the importance.

Adaptation crosses into the world of transmedia storytelling. “[Transmedia storytelling] is a particular narrative structure that expands through both different languages (verbal, iconic, etc.) and media (cinema, comics, television, video games, etc.). TS is not just an adaptation from one media to another. The story that the comics tell is not the same as that told on television or in cinema; the different media and languages participate and contribute to the construction of the transmedia narrative world” (Scolari 587). It is not a matter of whether the comic version of the music is better than the other but how it continues the world Coheed and Cambria singer and guitarist Claudio Sanchez dreamed up. With such multiple ways to soak up the story, “The Armory Wars” comics, such as Good Apollo (whether volume one or two), and the lyrics to the songs and the promotional videos released to promote the album all come together to give different experiences. Whether read, listened to, or watched, a person crosses media boundaries when engaging in the world the band produced. It is still important to notice that each part is its own creation and therefore, “each transmedia extension can stand on its own as an individually enjoyable entity” (Long 18). This can sometimes be forgotten by those not wrapped up in the entire adaptation universe of something such as the Coheed and Cambria and “The Armory Wars” relationship. It is uncommon for people who are only aware of a few versions, such as music and the music videos, to understand how only these things are linked and separate at the same time. Long makes a claim that “there is often a noticeable aesthetic difference between those transmedia narratives that were designed with transmedia in mind and those that weren’t” (Long 19), which comes across as only being applicable on a case to case basis. In regards to Coheed and Cambria and their many adaptations, there is an ability to enjoy the comic without realizing there were songs that connect to it and vice versa. As a person who listened first to the music and later was made aware of the comics, there is a personal bias to regard Long as being incorrect in applying his statement to all works that are transmedial and were intended to be so from the beginning.

Marsha Kinder targeted music videos, specifically rock music videos. “One of the most compelling aspects of rock video is its power to evoke specific visual images in the mind of the spectator every time one hears the music with which they have been juxtaposed on television. The experience of having watched and listened to a particular video clip on television establishes these connections in the brain circuitry” (Kinder 3) that when combined with already present images from the comic book or ideas a listener gets from hearing just the songs, amplifies the experience. While Kinder went on to speak more specifically about MTV and the effect of music videos, her work still can be applied to the idea of transmedia. Watching a music video online or on television reinforces the ideas of the song. In the case of “Welcome Home,” it reinforces the idea of the comic through images seen through frames in the music video. Someone watching that video is already experiencing adaptation of comic book and music and video.

Through multiple layers and various ways to experience Coheed and Cambria as well as “The Armory Wars,” readers, listeners, concertgoers, etc. participate in the transmedia aspect. In this case, the multiple mediums allows for further worldbuilding by the creators (Coheed and Cambria and Claudio Sanchez) as well as more to explore. Each version can stand alone but also interacts with another and all parts. Rather than simply being different adaptations with different spins (such as the various adaptations of of Alice in Wonderland), the work of Coheed and Cambria creates a world that the creators can contribute to, keeping it their idea.

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The two videos have standard YouTube licenses and were used to provide information on the adaptations of Coheed and Cambria’s music. The images were also provided for the same use.

Bibliography:

Kinder, Marsha. “Music Video and the Spectator: television, Ideology and Dream.” Film Quarterly 38.1 (1984): 2-15. 30 Apr. 2012.

Long, Geoffrey A. “Transmedia Storytelling: Business, Aesthetics and Production at the Jim Henson Company.” Massachussettes Institute of Technology. 2007:2-183. 30 Apr. 2012.

Nagy, Evie. “Geek Love.” Billboard 24 May 2008. 30 Apr. 2012.

Scolari, Carlos Alberto. “Transmedia Storytelling: Implicit Consumers, Narrative Worlds, and Branding in Contemporary Media Production.” International Journal of Communication 3 (2009): 586-606. 30 Apr. 2012.